Thursday, September 20, 2018

Union Minister dedicates ACOSTI to nation; emphasises on using ocean wealth for welfare of mankind

Port Blair, Sept 19: Union Minister for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment and Forests and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan dedicated the ‘Atal Centre for Ocean Science and Technology for Islands’ (ACOSTI) to the nation in a ceremony at its premises in Dollygunj, Port Blair on Sept 15, 2018. The function was also graced by the Lt. Governor A&N Islands, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd.), Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, GoI, Dr. M Rajeevan, Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Shri Chetan. B. Sanghi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr. Vipin Chandra and senior officers of the A&N Administration and staff of ACOSTI.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister expressed his happiness and thanked the Ministry of Earth Sciences and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) team for dedicating the centre   ‘Atal Centre for Ocean Science and Technology for Islands’ to late Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  “He was an architect of modern science and technology in India who gave us the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan’. It was during his regime that the Government of India officially declared 11th of May as National Technology Day in India to commemorate the first of the five nuclear tests that were carried out on 11 May 1998 at Pokhran in Rajasthan. His blessings will be there for this institute and the Indian scientists can never forget Atalji”, he said.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasised on using ocean wealth for the welfare of mankind. “The information and results thus produced from such scientific installations must be transferred from our scientists to farmers, fishermen and youngsters. I am happy to share that about 42 million farmers are being informed about weather forecast by the institutes under Ministry of Earth Sciences. We give tsunami warnings to other coastal countries also”, he said. 
He expressed hope that farmers, youngsters and fishermen will get benefit from the research that will be carried out at ACOSTI.  He pressed upon the need to use science for solving the day-to-day problems of common man thus fulfilling the dreams of both Late PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of making New India by 2022.
Referring to the newly inaugurated Atal Centre for Ocean Science and Technology, the Minister said that this Centre will be an asset for the youth, farmers, fishermen of the Islands and the nation. He also urged everyone to join the ‘Green Good Deeds’ movement to contribute in making clean and green environment.
 In his speech on the occasion, the Lt. Governor expressed happiness that the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is implementing Ocean Science and Technology programmes in the A&N Islands through its technological arms such as National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), etc. Presently, NIOT has come forward to shoulder the responsibility of setting up a new state-of-the-art laboratory cum administrative complex and staff quarters along with all necessary supporting facilities. 
The Lt Governor said, “today the world is witnessing enormous technological advancement in every field of human endeavour. Acquisition of knowledge & skills and their practical application towards improving the quality of life has been the keystone of our progress. Villages are getting urbanized to towns and towns to cities, thereby expanding the progress to greater horizons, which is true for Island territories also”.
The Lt. Governor said, the A&N Islands have 1912 km of coastline, constitute 28% of the total EEZ of the country and are strategically located in Bay of Bengal in terms of geology, fisheries, military, etc. The seas surrounding the Islands are bestowed with great diversity of marine life, much of which is still unexplored. To explore, conserve, and make better use of marine biodiversity, the Lt. Governor said, we need a deeper understanding of its origin, its composition and role in ecosystem functioning. “We also need improved approaches and tools to monitor & quantify marine bio-resources and to keep policy makers and the public better informed on its value in environmental, socio-cultural and economic terms”, he added.
The Lt. Governor said that the pelagic fisheries resources are being exploited to its fullest potential, and currently there is huge pressure on the capture fisheries. Implementation of offshore mariculture in Island will reduce the pressure on capture fisheries. Similarly, seaweeds are one of the major sources of food and raw material for industrially important product. The Islands, with rich seaweed diversity, offers a unique opportunity to large scale farming and cultivation of seaweeds for industrial application.
The Lt. Governor informed that during the Prime Minister’s review meeting on 30th June, 2018 of IDA projects being undertaken for holistic development of our Islands territories, impetus has been on economic growth by utilising and exploring indigenous resources, while at the same time sustainably conserving Mother Nature. Exploring the possibility of seaweed cultivation on large scale was one of the thrust areas in the discussions during the review meeting. The Lt Governor said, this centre has been opened with the inspiration of the Prime Minister, and it will prove to be an asset both for A&N Islands as well as for the whole country.
The Lt. Governor concluded his speech by saying that this center would support the development of indigenous technology for sustainable utilization of Islands’ marine living and non-living resources for the benefit of the Island communities. It will also open new vista in marine research and form a bridge between the Islands and main land.
In his address on the occasion, the Member of Parliament, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray expressed happiness over the inauguration of the new Centre which he said was the dream of former Prime Minister, late Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee. He wholeheartedly thanked the Minister for granting CRZ clearance for the construction of the Baratang Bridge on ATR road. Shri Ray said that there is huge availability of Uranium in our seas and NIOT should tap this enormous potential available in these Islands. He also mentioned that work is underway in the areas like sea fish and sea cage culture in these Islands, the results of which will be good for Islanders in the coming years.
Welcoming the Union Minister and others present on the occasion, the Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, GoI, Dr. Rajeevan said that NIOT has completed 25 years of service to the Nation. He also gave a brief account of the some works done by NIOT in A&N and Lakshadweep Islands.
The inauguration function concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by the Office In- Charge, ACOSTI, Dr. N.V. Vinith Kumar.

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